Previously on The Vampire Diaries, Bonnie was able to walk the earth while Elena remained in a coffin. After coming home to find Mystic Falls a ghost town and his mother and her new family taking up residence in his house, Damon killed Lily’s favorite Heretic son, Malcolm. And in an act of revenge, Lily contracted Enzo to kidnap Caroline.

“Never Let Me Go” stays with the theme of opening the episode with a time jump of three years from now. Caroline is a television news producer bouncing around the set very authoritatively making sure the packages will be ready for broadcast. A co-worker interrupts her to let her know that her fiance called and wants to take her back to Mystic Falls before the wedding. A look of fear and confusion crosses her face as she says, “But he knows that we can’t go back there.” First, who is Caroline engaged to? Could it be Stefan? (Spoiler alert, it’s not Stefan.) Also, Mystic Falls is still off limits three years later? This lets us know that season 7 is just going to be episode after episode of failed plans to get the town back.
Present Day – Trespassers Will be Decapitated

With Mystic Falls becoming a ghost town, it has only increased the outside world’s fascination. Word has gotten out about all of the paranormal events and general weirdness surrounding it. Two kids are conducting a paranormal investigation, complete with EMF detectors, within the walls of the town to uncover what has been happening. They document their investigation with night vision cameras. The duo comes upon the crypt in the cemetery where Elena’s body is being kept. They try to open the door to the crypt, but one of the investigator’s heat sensors picks up images letting them know they are not alone. He tries to warn his friend, but is too late and she is sucked up into the air and flung against the wall. Norma and Mary-Louise are responsible for the attack. Before it can get really gruesome though, Matt shows up to stop it, but then he is knocked out. He wakes up the next morning to find a circulation band tied around his wrist.

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Alaric is doing his best attempt at business as usual. He is back teaching his occult class. This lesson is about how reality is sometimes scarier than the non-fiction. He warns his class that the most terrifying thing his class will find in Mystic Falls is a trespassing ticket – which is ironically true – so everyone should just stay out.

Class is dismissed but Bonnie stays behind. Alaric uses this opportunity to confess that he has been trying to communicate with Jo. He asks her if she’s ever heard of the Phoenix Stone. This is the same stone that Lily asked Enzo to retrieve.

The Blame Game

Stefan is driving through town when he is stopped by Beau. He gets out of the car and is pretty much immediately shut down with the Heretics favorite go-to disarming tactic, the witchy-vampire-headache thing. Lily enters the scene. She brings up the deal she has with Stefan. She tells him that they found Malcolm the night before with his heart ripped out. This is information Stefan wasn’t aware of. He doesn’t take credit for the murder and Lily says she doesn’t blame him, but she is there to let him know they kidnapped Caroline.

Enzo has Caroline tied up with vervain ropes in the cell of the Salvatore house. Caroline doesn’t understand why he would choose Lily’s side. She uses Enzo’s affection for her against him and cons him into loosening the ropes. She takes the opportunity to attack him. Before she can escape, she is stopped by Norma and Mary-Louise. This also seems to be a running theme of season 7. The Heretics always show up at the last second and ruin everything!

Stefan and Damon have moved into the Lockwood house. Stefan confronts Damon about killing Malcolm. And in classic Damon fashion, it takes him awhile to understand the gravity of the situation. He finally gets it when Stefan drops the bombshell that Lily took Caroline in retaliation. Stefan tells Damon he has to fix it.

Damon goes to the Salvatore house to question Lily. He wants her to let Caroline go. He even offers up himself in place of Caroline, but Lily isn’t budging. Damon becomes increasingly frustrated and tries to cross the threshold. He is stopped because he no longer owns the house, and Lily has the deed to prove it. 

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Like Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat

Alaric shows Bonnie the Phoenix Stone. She holds it and tells him she can’t feel any magic emanating from it. She delves deeper trying to unlock the magic that might be concealed inside of it. She gets visions gore and torture and snaps out of her trance. She tells Alaric that the stone is evil. He already knows that though. Bonnie tells him he has to destroy the stone, preferably by dropping it into a beaker of hydrochloric acid.

Meanwhile in the Salvatore house of horrors, Mary-Louise is torturing Caroline. She is now chained and hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room. After Caroline disses the dress that Norma is going to wear to Malcolm’s funeral, Mary-Louise jams an eye-line pencil into Caroline’s clavicle.

Damon needs a favor. He calls Bonnie to see if she can get them access to the Salvatore house. It turns out the Heretics drained the vervain from Matt’s blood and convinced him to sign over the deed that night he stopped the attack on the Blair Witch twins. In order to get the house back, Bonnie has to kill Matt – at least temporarily. Matt agrees to this plan a little too eagerly. (I guess I would too if I were him. It seems his friends are making shitty plans and asking him to die every week)

Bonnie stops Matt’s heart while Damon and Stefan try to free Caroline. In the middle of the spell, Bonnie has a vision – the same vision she held the Phoenix Stones. These visions are more vivid and we can see all of the bodies bear the same “x” that Beau and Stefan had in the premiere episode. She collapses, but manages to wake in time to revive Matt before he dies for real.

Another Failed Plan

Lily and the rest of the family are at the cemetery. Enzo lets Damon know that Lily is burying Malcolm in the crypt where Elena’s coffin is kept. Damon knows this isn’t good news. Damon rushes to the cemetery and finds an empty crypt. Lily appears and doesn’t offer up any information to the whereabouts of Elena’s body. She merely tells a story of when Damon was little. Apparently, he was a big liar, much like he is today. Lily figured out the only way to discipline him and get him to tell the truth was to take away his toys. This seems to work in his adult life as well.

Meanwhile, Stefan is still at the Salvatore trying to release Caroline. Earlier, Valerie the nice Heretic, casts a spell that turned Caroline’s skin into vervain. It prevents the rest of the Heretics from harming her, but it also keeps Stefan from touching her.

Stefan and Caroline are seconds away from a clean escape, but all of the sudden the whole house starts shaking. Caroline says that she feels an uncontrollable pull, and Stefan is immediately sucked out of the window. Caroline is pulled down the stairs by an unseen force. Enzo had the maid, Lily, sign the deed to the house, and the vampires are no longer welcome. I should say Stefan isn’t welcome. Before she is pulled outside, Enzo tells the maid to invite Caroline to stay. She is still captive. At least we know she’ll be released some time within the next three years.

July 15, 1863

Norma tells Caroline that Valerie isn’t really the “nice one” that she seems to be. She gives Caroline Stefan’s journal from 1903. It was the first thing Valerie searched for when they were trapped in the alternate world. She directs Caroline to the July 15, 1863 entry. Stefan has written about meeting a girl, Valerie, the most wonderful girl he has ever met.This explains why Valerie cast a spell that doesn’t allow Stefan to touch Caroline. It seems there are some major jealousy issues going on.

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State of Brotherly Love

Stefan questions why Damon left. He tells him that Lily has Elena’s body. Lily also makes a deal with Damon. Elena will remain safe as long as he remains as far away from Mystic Falls as humanly possible. He says that Lily is slowly taking away everything they love. Damon sees through her plan, and knows that she wants the two brothers to argue and fight against each other instead of with each other. They vow to stick together.

This was a pretty good episode, in my opinion. There were a lot of revelations and a lot of exposition. They are definitely taking their time setting the scene for where we’re going to go the rest of the season – and some of the storylines are moving painstakingly slow. I’m mostly talking about the stuff with Alaric and Jo.

There is also this super creepy scene where Enzo proclaims his loyalty for Lily runs deeper than friendship. He doesn’t want the whole family. He wants only her. I still don’t know if we can trust him. I just like to think Enzo is constantly playing both sides and has his own agenda. Hopefully we’ll find out what the real deal is soon!

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Is it moving along too slowly for you? Sound off in the comments.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm on The CW.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Casey Cummings

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV